The Clearing: The Verdict (A Short Story Series 9/9)

Short Story, The Clearing / Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

The Carpenter sat on the chair he crafted in the cabin he built. The fire in front of him warmed, primitive but effective. It was done now, the cabin stood as a monument to a decision he now needed to make. There was an expectation now, an exception of finality that he had trouble bringing himself to.

It was quiet in the clearing, peaceful in its isolation. Far enough away from the road and interrupted by trees. The Carpenter thought he isolated to make the decision. It was quickly becoming apparent that it was more due to his deteriorating mental state. Consumed by a decision no other could understand, haunted by beings no other could see.

The Carpenter remembered a life when he was Ezra, a person who existed in and of the world. Before he was consumed in complete. The people that he loved, those who died. His was a life like others, the pain and the happiness. For him though there was an overarching pressure that would destroy his normality.

The Carpenter would never build another thing, he knew that. It felt wrong to see himself as such. Know he was a judge and jury, more powerful than comprehension. He was in his last earthly moments Ezra.

The fire in front of Ezra grew, and in a flash They were there. He could not touch them but they could he. Their energy lifted hair, compressed the air around him. Whilst they were acclimatizing to this plane he found it hard to breath. Then they were there, in a way, they were with Ezra.

The decision needed to be made, they had waited. Waiting to see what he would do, to understand better what they forgot. Ezra was silent, of voice and mind. There were ten consciences there but one being. They existed as energy, they didn’t have physical bodies so to travel together they needed to exist together. They were distinct but one, this intensified their presence. Intensified the effect on Ezra.

“A decision must be made” The spoke to Ezra, he did not hear them but felt them in his mind. It was like a thought he had but in a different voice. Many times he would confuse their voice for his own. They spoke and affected his brain, they became memory instantly. He remembered there words while they were saying them. “What have you decided. Will you come up with us or will you stay here amongst your own.”

Ezra looked into the fire. “You make it sound so simple, if I come with you that will mean the destruction of the human race. If I stay hear that will be the destruction of me. You have made sure that I cannot exist here, but I cannot doom them to exist with you”
“The decision is simple, does the human race deserve existence. Have they evolved to a point of worth?”
“You ask the question as if the death of billions is of no consequence, as if their deaths are mine to cause.”
“They are ours to cause and yours to decide and decide you must.” The tone was cold and clinical.

Ezra stood out of the chair, “you cannot make me decide on the fate of all of those people. Who am I to decide?” They pushed him back into the chair, taking control of his body.
“You decide because we made you to decide. Your existence is our decision you must understand that. You are not here to be human, you are here to be us. There is a deep consequence to your decision, you will forget all it was to be you. To be human and you will ascend. It is a curse and a blessing.”

Ezra felt their control of his body ease and it relaxed into the chair. They were quiet for a moment, as if they were watching him. Then they pushed hard on him, a memory broke through, Marilyn in her coffin, peacefully quiet. The pain that she felt in life was gone at this point. “Why show me this” Decision they would not talk to him. They push memories, making him see those who he would judge.

Marilyn was his love, the one he missed most from his time on earth. If they hadn’t intervened he could have saved he. Her obsession with image, and adoration. The human creature so in need of it that it would consume them. The only love he felt came from a significant pain. They showed him this to realise even the ones we love are tortured. Willing to do unspeakable things to have contentment. Was this a people who should be saved, if they were so inward facing that they would continue to act in such horrific ways externally?

They pushed on him, his body now rigid, pushing into the chair. Ezra closed his eyes but the did not show him the images. They made him remember them, see them as a thought. He could not get away from that.

Decision, again they pushed it. They showed him Herman Gorthel’s lifeless body. Attacked and killed for the atrocities he caused on his people. The memories of the people starving outside the palace walls, while he sat and drank fine champagne. The babies who were born into pain and died knowing nothing else.

The raids he commanded, killing innocent people. There was blood everywhere, it was on him now. The deaths were for power, that seemed human. To do anything for power, to crush all as long as you stood victorious on the mountain of corpses. It had been like that from the start of time, it would go on being like that. Should humans be allowed to continue if pain was to exist in such large quantities. Did we earn existence through pain, could we continue to have it with pain alone?

Decision, Eric Montgomery stood across from him. He had one of his victims. Attacking them with such cold calm. People like him existed and took joy from the pain of others. Their existence was at the sacrifice of others. Taking innocence and turning it to pain. Perhaps Eric enjoyed it as Ava killed him, knowing that Eric had such a profound effect on her.

The good were sullied by the evil, it appeared there were fewer good as time went forward. The psychopath profited from humanities march forward. Should that march be halted. Kill the infection before the infection is all that is left. Eric Montgomery with blood bubbling from his through mouthed to Ezra; ‘you let me die, you already made the decision.’

Decision, What did Ava’s pain say about humanity. She killed another person, he let it happen. The death of Eric meant she could live. The death meant some sort of peace for her. Was that the human story, peace through death?

There were evil people everywhere, pushing their influence. Was a cleansing fire needed to rebalance. Ava had a good life and impacted so many people in a positive way. Was she the counterbalance to the story. She was the good, and she was. There was so much evil it was hard to see how people like her could wrestle control from the Eric’s of the world.

Decision, Jack an example of selfish fear and cold inference. He watch as a terrible thing happened and was frozen by self-preservation. Worked for a conglomerate, damaged lives under the guise of a monthly report. His existence could not be more banal in its destruction.

How many people out there existed as he did. Moving through life like the worker ant. Doing what is told no matter how destructive. No matter who it hurt. As long as they could stuff their face and watch TV. There was no deeper cause to his existence.

Decision, Terrence the man of genius, so unable to manage his emotions. Overridden by his animal mind, if the human race was so easily steered to animal deeps did they not deserve animal kindness. Terrence was struck by his selfishness, believing it belonged to some higher order need.

When we can’t see others for the shadow of ourselves what hope do we have? Not only did he hurt the one he declared to love, he irreparably harmed his family. He projected his profound personality on those he should have cared for but harmed.

Decision, and what of Ignis Fatuus? The man who was built of ego and self-delusion. He would throw to the hell-hounds a country for his glory. He was not the first and last of this type, using the stupidity of a species to further his idolatry. The human race destined to continue to embrace despots till we cease to be.

What of Ignis Fatuus a man of profound self realisation and incompatibility with reality? The species loose grip on what is true, a defect one would think. It allowed so much and many to suffer. To be taken by the charming guise of a snake oil salesmen.

Ezra was hit with a force to the chest reminding him of their presence. They didn’t get angry, their emotional stability unwavering. Their expectations were the driving force, they agreed that the decision would be made now. They would not let him go, not for malice but agreement.

The pressure off Ezra, he leant forward and then stood; “I am one of them, I should not be the one to decide for them. You cannot make me judge their evil when you want to eradicate them. What is more evil than stripping existence?”
“What we do is to help them and you. If they should not exist we give them that fate, out of compassion. If they should exist we leave them. It is a compassion that we do.”
“You do it because like us you are selfish, you don’t want the answer to save the human race. You do this because you want to know something you once did. This is the crime of consciousness; to know the self makes you see nothing else”.
“We have helped billions, we aim to help you”.

The profound weight and realisation that eradication could be the only truth for intelligent life hit Ezra. “You have helped none, to be taken up by you is to doom your people and forget them. To stay is to know the cruelty the species exists in. For all your questions and judgement what do you have to show for it; you can’t even remember what was so important that you destroyed worlds. Perhaps it is a punishment, who ever made you like this did so to stop something more horrific from being known.

Ezra was walked around, DECISION, the force stronger now. “I would rather die, go into nothing than to perpetuate the idea that you were higher order beings.” He stood by the fire, “what you have shown me is evil. What you have done to me, taking from me happiness. Attacking my mind, and making it your play thing. The human race may be bad but what ever you are deserves no encouragement.”


“I decide to take away your power. You wont control me any longer, make me a man outside of my people. You have used me as an experiment to get an answer, I will do the only thing that will punish you; I will take my decision with me to the grave.”

Ezra took a log out of the fire and threw it into the room. The fire was slow to start and then quickly it began to eat his creation. Taking with it the thoughts of pain and selfishness. His decision was to recognise that no one human should have power over the masses. No one human was good enough to be the messiah. The decision would be made by the human race. Our destruction did not need to come from a higher power. It would come from us, the only truth in this world.

The beings watched, trying to extinguish what they could not touch. They watched their experiment destroy the experiment. As the flames took Ezra the judgements did not sit in his sights. He saw Marilyn and a life flashed before his eyes, one he might have had. He had enough of truth, he was happy to see this lie and go into it.

They went back to were they existed, slowly Ezra fell out of their minds as had so much else. They worked on developing another experiment to judge humanity. To take back what was lost so long ago.

The stories have been told, was his refusal to decide the least human we have seen. Would have chosen to destroy humanity if you had the chose?

To catch up on past parts go to The Clearing

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